Special Events

On the Yahara partners with organizations around the Madison area that share our vision and acknowledge the importance of nature, wellness, and self-care. Together, we are committed to bringing you special programs and workshops that will help you connect with yourself, nature, and your writing.

Here is everything that we have coming up. As we make new partnerships, we will continue to add events so make sure to bookmark this page and check back often!

Nature Poetry

In partnership with the UW-Arboretum

Session 1: Fridays, February 5 and 12, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Registration required by January 31.

Session 2: Fridays, February 19 and 26, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Registration required by February 14.

These two-class sessions offer a sampling of modern nature poetry, covering poets from Gary Snyder to Joy Harjo to Evie Shockley. We will consider human relationships with nature and then address contemporary topics such as the psychological benefits of nature, sustainability, and biodiversity loss. This is an appreciation class but we may also share writing. Sessions are two classes. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 for session. Space is limited.

An invitation to the virtual event will be sent separately to the email you provide when you sign up.

Nature poet Gary Snyder

Writing Your “Marshland Elegy”

In partnership with the UW-Arboretum

Tuesdays, March 2 and 9, 6:30–8 p.m. Registration required by February 25.

An elegy acknowledges sorrow and loss. Aldo Leopold eloquently used the elegiac device in the essay “Marshland Elegy.” In this two-class session, we will interpret Leopold’s elegy through the contemporary lens of unprecedented loss of species and ecological diversity. The first class will cover topics and in the second we will share short written pieces. Session is two classes, March 2 and 9. Instructor: Troy Hess. Fee: $15 for session. Space is limited.

An invitation to the virtual event will be sent separately to the email you provide when you sign up.

Author Aldo Leopold

The Best American Food Writing 2020

In partnership with The Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW)

The class will meet on four consecutive Tuesdays in March (March 9-30, 2021) from 4:30-6:00 PM. Register by March 1, 2021. This class is free to register. Sponsored by CHEW.

The Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin is pairing up with the Madison-based writing company On the Yahara Writing Center to offer a four-part ‘read and response’ class centered on the prescient collection of non-fiction food writing The Best American Food Writing, 2020, edited by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, bestselling author of the Food Lab and the winner of the James Beard Award and IACP Cookbook of the year award.

This class is meant for all those interested in contemporary non-fiction food writing. This collection pays special attention to the relationship between food and culture during these unprecedented times of change and pandemic. As a four-part series, we will begin by reading a quarter of the book per class, discuss the writing itself and the topics covered, try to locate our own reactions to contemporary food culture, and then consider ways that each of us might respond in writing in our own unique way. Some participants might be inspired to try non-fiction reactions. Some participants might be interested in simply taking notes and sharing thoughts. Others might be interested in reacting in poetry, others writing recipes.

Troy Hess, founder of On the Yahara Writing Center, and contributing cookbook reviewer for CHEW, will send along class slides each session including common reading and possibly prompts. We will decide as we go along if participants would like to share any writing in the final session of the class. The mission statement for On the Yahara Writing Center is “Everyone Can Write,” and we hope you will join us in this endeavor for these four happy hours!

For its debut, in order to enable sufficient opportunity for participants to engage with material and one-another, this class will be capped at 25 participants. 

How to find a copy of the anthology:
Purchase an e-text or print (paperback) from your favorite bookseller OR find a copy from a library near you:http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1202460231